Spanish Super Cup - "Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid"

Di Maria says he only stayed at Real Madrid because of Cristiano Ronaldo


If it wasn’t for Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria would have left Real Madrid before last season. That was the statement the Argentine winger made before his side’s 4-2 win over Germany on Wednesday.

“The truth is that I have a great relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and I stayed at Madrid last season thanks to him,” Di Maria told ESPN Radio.

“I left Madrid in the best possible way, by winning La Decima,” Di Maria continued. “In my farewell letter, I said exactly how I felt from the first day at the Bernabeu.”

The letter (below) clears up any rumors concerning Di Maria’s desire to stay at Madrid. He was all in. But apparently the higher-ups in the Spanish capital didn’t see him in their future, so much so that even pleas from Ronaldo to secure Di Maria’s services fell on deaf ears.

Di Maria’s letter to fans stated the following: “Unfortunately today I have to go, but I want to make clear that this was never my desire.

“As anyone who works, I’ve always wanted to progress. After winning ‘La Decima’ I went to the World Cup with the hope of receiving a new contract, which never came.

“Many things and many lies were spoken. They always wanted to attribute the initiative to me to leave the club, but I did not. The only thing I asked for is something that would be fair.

He added: “I’ve been lucky enough to share a dressing room with fantastic players, who have been even better companions.

“I think that was the key to La Decima. I want to apologize for the times I was wrong, on or off the pitch. It was never my intention to harm anyone.

“I sweated for this shirt in every game as if it was my last. There were times when things went for me and others not, but what I can say is that I always gave everything.”

For Manchester United fans, hearing these words are only positive. It appears that Di Maria has turned the page on his time at Real Madrid and is ready to write a new chapter. Perhaps he harbors some ill-will towards his former club but that should only serve as motivation to reach new levels of success at Old Trafford.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).